If you’ve ever been to West Virginia, you’ll know that West Virginia style pepperoni rolls are everywhere. For good reason too, they’re amazing. I might be biased, but I think my dad has the best pepperoni rolls recipe out there.
My dad grew up in West Virginia and we’d occasionally go back to Clarksburg to visit family and friends. I was always the most excited about coming home with West Virginia style pepperoni rolls. These fluffy little rolls stuffed with two neat little sticks of pepperoni are just plain perfect.
I prefer my pepperoni roll recipe to be made without cheese. That’s usually how you buy them in corner stores. Most West Virginians will tell you to toast them with cheese and top with Oliverio Peppers and Tomatoes.
West Virginia style pepperoni rolls will take awhile to prepare. HOWEVER, you’ll be rewarded with a week’s worth of fluffy rolls that make the absolute best lunch ever.
How to Make Pepperoni Rolls:
For this recipe, start with a homemade dough which will take – more or less – all day to prepare. Be sure not to cut corners on resting the dough as it will really impact the texture of the rolls!
Once your dough is ready to go, you will cut your pepperoni into sticks. I do two sticks per roll, but you can load them up with more pepperoni. If you can’t find the stick pepperoni, you can use slices, too!
After your rolls are assembled, rest them one final time. Throw an egg wash on top and then chuck them into the oven! The rolls are done when they are crusty and hardened on top.
Let them cool off for a bit – or bite into them immediately; it’s your life – and then enjoy them with peppers and tomatoes or with melted cheese! You’ll be so happy that you took the time to prepare these delicious rolls!
If you made this recipe, please rate the recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how you liked it! If you take a picture of it, please tag me on Instagram so I can feature you in my feed!
West Virginia Style Pepperoni Rolls
- Large bowl
- Baking sheet
- 4 cups hot water
- 2 packets of active dry yeast not instant
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ¾ tablespoons salt
- Olive oil
- 2 large sticks of good quality pepperoni
- Egg Wash: 1 egg beaten and mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
Activate the Yeast:
- In the morning, dd the hot water to a large bowl and sprinkle the two packets of yeast on top. Let it set for 10 minutes until bubbly. Add the sugar and salt and stir to dissolve. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of flour and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 8 hours. Note: The yeast mixture can set for as little as 30 minutes up to 24 hours. I recommend starting the yeast in the morning and finishing the rolls in the evening.
- Slice the pepperoni into 4 inch long sticks (This will dictate how long your pepperoni roll is, so don’t cut them too long) and keep covered in the fridge until ready to use.
- In the Evening: Begin adding flour to the yeast mixture, one cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon between additions. You will probably add around 6-8 cups of flour total. Continue adding flour until the mixture is very thick and becomes difficult to stir. Once you’re able to handle the mixture with your hands, dump the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead for at least 10 minutes, adding sprinkles of flour as necessary to remove the any stickiness from the dough. (Do channel your inner pizza maker and slam the dough on the table as often as possible!)
Rest the Dough:
- Clean out the bowl you originally had the dough in and drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and use a paper towel to evenly coat the inside of the bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 hour. The dough should double in size.
- After the dough has risen, punch down to remove any large pockets of air. (This is my favorite part.) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425ºF and sprinkle two baking sheets with cornmeal.
Make the Pepperoni Rolls:
- Tear out a section of the dough, a little smaller than the size of a tennis ball. Flatten the dough ball between your palms into a slightly oblong shape. Add one stick of pepperoni on the right side of the dough and fold the dough over just the pepperoni. Add a piece of pepperoni on the left side and fold over the dough to cover it. Pinch the center of the dough to seal the roll, using a bit of water if necessary to seal it closed. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue making the rest of the pepperoni rolls.
Rest the Pepperoni Rolls:
- Cover the baking sheet with wax pepper and allow the rolls to rest for 30 minutes. Prior to baking, brush the surface of the rolls with the egg wash.
Bake the Pepperoni Rolls:
- Bake each sheet of rolls for 20 minutes. I bake the sheets individually, but you can do whatever works for you! The rolls should be a nice golden brown and feel hard on the top.
- Serve with Oliverio peppers and cheese or eat them on their own! Enjoy!
Unfortunately these are not a true representation of pepperoni rolls. It seems that West Virginia’s most famous food has caused many former residents or people who are descendants of former residents to suddenly stand up and claim their “famous family recipe” online to try to cash in on the craze.
The truth is most of the time these family recipes are nothing more than taking pepperoni and pairing it with a bland non descript and often hard textured white bread or dinner roll recipe. And this example unfortunately does not sway far from that path. A true pepperoni roll should consist of an almost sweet tasting bread of the softest and pillowy proportions. It should be more similar to a challah bread than anything else but even then that’s not quite right. The rich butter soft texture is the perfect environment for all the warm spicy pepperoni oil to leach into as it bakes which helps to fuse the bread and the meat. A process which continues to occur over the next day which is why day old pepperoni rolls taste the best. And the eggwash is absolutely incorrect. What should be done after baking is to gently run a stick of butter over the top of rolls fresh out of the oven. This gives it a rich flavor and helps keep the rolls soft throughout as they are meant to be.
I’m not trying to be critical here on purpose and I’m sure the author has all the best intentions but this is a poor example of a true pepperoni roll. If you don’t believe me make a batch of these and take them with you for comparison the next time you go to West Virginia and you will clearly see just how off the mark they are when you sample them next to one bought in central W. Va. You’ll quickly realize just how in adequate these are in stacking up to a true pepperoni roll.
I’ve tried many online pepperoni roll recipes in an attempt to find one that matches up with the originals and sadly the quest continues. I gave 2 stars because at least this recipe did not instruct one to use “frozen bread or pizza dough” bought from the store. Omg, I just can’t with lazy people like that… I mean why even bother at that point, just order a calzone from your local pizzeria and call it a day…
I have to disagree with the “Pepperoni roll connesieur”
First off, you misspelled connoisseur.
Being from West Virginian, and having the pleasure of eating many pepperoni rolls, I can attest to the fact that this is a wonderful recipe. I at least made it. The call for frozen bread or dough, is an ALTERNATIVE solution for those who do not make dough, or do not have the time to make their own dough.
You don’t have to be from West Virginia to make a true pepperoni roll from a good recipe. I’m not from Italy, but I make a delicious Italian meatball from an Italian recipe.
Maybe you could post your ‘authentic’ dough recipe? Who knows what is truly authentic, the doughs originally used were made by depression-era women in the home, and most likely varied from home to home. Most doughs do tend to have some sugar, and some have milk, still, nothing is set in stone. Make them how you like them.
And maybe you could apply a little reading comprehension next time before you feel the need to attacking someone else’s honest opinion on a recipe. I clearly stated that I have been on a hunt for a truly authentic pepperoni roll recipe and that after this one failed to satisfy that the search continues. So no I don’t have a good pepperoni roll recipe to share. Instead of trying to tear someone else who was just being honest about their experience down, maybe you could instead talk about your positive experience with this recipe. I mean I certainly haven’t been attacking anyone else’s positive reviews here. That’s their opinion and they are welcome to share it.
But where’s the fun in that right? It’s much more “American” to quarrel and make up a fight where none really exists these days it seems. I didn’t attack the author. I wasn’t rude. I just simply shared my thoughts based on my experience. It was nothing but honest. Maybe you mistook honesty for an attack but if you re-read my original article you’ll note no attack exists. Just a critique.
I have to say since you felt compelled to actually stand up and defend the author(for what reason I have no idea), do you even have a horse in this race? I mean it just stands to reason that if you are going to interject yourself personally against my humble opinion one would like to believe you know what you are even talking about. So have you made this recipe yourself? I just have even greater difficulty entertaining your negativity towards me if you have no personal experience with what we are discussing is all. As I’m sure most people would. I hope you understand that position.
For the record, I’ve never met a single person from West Virginia who prefers a day old pepperoni roll over a fresh one. Having literally just eaten a fresh pepperoni roll from Tomaro’s Bakery in Clarksburg, WV, I would say this recipe seems pretty close. They’re made different all over the state and having tried a lot of them, I still think Clarksburg has the best style but that wouldn’t give me the right to criticize someone else’s preference. To the author, Thank you for the recipe!
So delicious! I could eat the whole batch! Very authentic! Yummy!
Omg. Are we sisters?!?!!?🤣 this is my dads EXACT recipe too! We have family in clarksburg as well as Salem. Can’t forget to pair it with the oliverio peppers or it’s just not the same! Thanks for unleashing this trapped memory of mine. I enjoyed checking out the rest of your recipes. Best wishes!!
Thank you so much–we may very well be long-lost sisters, ha! It was always a treat when dad made pepperoni rolls!
First off you misused he word Virginian when you meant Virginia. I mean if we are going to attack misspellings you should really make sure your English lit is airtight yourself. Not bobble it up in the very next sentence after you critique someone else.
And no you don’t have to be from a specific region to be able to cook a good recipe that hails from said region. Although it certainly does help. But that’s my whole point. I don’t believe that this is a particularly good recipe, thus it’s outcome is not going to be very satisfactory no matter who attempts to make it.
This is my opinion and I’ve given many reasons for why I believe it is not a true representative of a good pepperoni roll recipe. There’s no right or wrong answer here and I’m not the final word on pepperoni rolls by any stretch of the imagination . This recipe does require a significant amount of time energy and ingredients that aren’t exactly super cheap, which is why I felt compelled to share my experience and explain exactly why it fell short of what I believe a good pepperoni roll should be. Therefore people who share those similar expectations would have a bit of tempering of their own expectations rather than to waste all that attempting something to experience the same disappointing results. I appreciate honesty when reviewing recipe commentary. It great to hear when some people enjoy a recipe but I also want to hear from those who did not enjoy and the reasons why. My time and money are too valuable to me to waste on things that don’t satisfy me.
I’m sorry if you don’t appreciate that concept but comments are open forums not just complimentary echo chambers to appease people who are so caught up in fandom they refuse to recognize something may also have negative aspects as well.
I’m quite certain the author is well away of this idea and isn’t too bothered by someone critiquing her recipe especially when it’s done without rude or unnecessary attacks and is accompanied by legitimate reasons for the critique that are understandable. And if for some reason she’s not comfortable with critiquing then as the old saying goes “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”. I don’t actually appreciate you trying to negate my critique which as I said isn’t wrong or right, but rather just my opinion. I certainly haven’t gone around arguing with anyone that’s left positive feedback. That’s their experience and they are free to share it without me debating them on it.
As an aside, I also made this recipe. The way you state your comment seems to imply you don’t think I did. How in the hell would I possibly review this if I hadn’t?
Oh my man, it’s just a pepperoni roll!
Thanks for the retort a full year after the fact. You’re right it is just a recipe. So why don’t you just enjoy it instead of jumping in because you don’t seem to appreciate my critique of it. For the last time, its not personal, I’m not attacking the person who posted the recipe. Sweet Jesus there’s a 5 star rating system in place for a reason and a comment box to explain ones rationale for the rating they give. I’m sorry I used the system as it was designed and honestly rated the recipe as I saw fit. And I didn’t even give the worst rating; a 1 star, that’s possible. Honestly is just too much for some people to accept I guess, but I’m not backing down from my assessment. I’m sure she’s a lovely individual and I’m glad others liked the recipe there are certainly more that did than mine that didn’t so it seems the pros would automatically drown out my con regardless but here you are “weighing in” without adding anything relevant to the conversation. Thanks I guess. Here’s your 2 star review for participating. Be well.
It’s a great recipe! I graduated from a catholic high school and we used practically the same recipe to make pepperoni rolls for runs raisers. The rolls were mouth watering and they never failed to make the money as well as our goal. To “P.C.” I would like to say that giving one’s honest opinion is currently protected as one of our rights as a U.S. citizen and I defend that right until my last breath. That being said, and this is sage advice, don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. I have been a West Virginian my entire life. Just wanted to weigh in. Have a great day:)
Thank you so much for this! These are so amazingly perfect. I’m from Fairmont WV and these are a prefect representation of pepperoni rolls from there. Love them so much!
Now now ladies, KP I too spent time in Fairmont, WV and am told it is the “home” of the Pepperoni Roll. I decided I cannot make them, I’ve tried a million times so here’s my solution for people like me!
Wow! A lot of folks from WV spent time here, arguing! Sad face. Do better yall! Anyway, I have never made bread or anything, but I made this dough. First off, it took me a lot more than 8 cups of flour. All said and done I probably used 10 before I could even get it on the table to knead, and then it was super sticky. I rolled with it though and after it rose I had a very nice stretchy dough. I used to work in a deli and their “famous” sausage rolls’ dough looked just like this, so I felt good going in. I used these for sausage rolls because I was craving them, some with mozzarella in them and some without. Came out amazing! The bread is very nice. I enjoyed mine with some ranch 🙂
Thunder Herd or Mountaineer? Any true West Virginian will understand that question, we may fight like cats and dogs. However, we have each others back. The state is in the bottom 10 for income, but you don’t need money to be considered as 1 of the top 5 for hospitality, friendliness and beauty.
I found your directions to be confusing and repetitive. Can you please read through them and clarify them.